For patients who have a disability, the decision to pursue further education and subsequent employment may well throw up the dilemma of whether they should disclose the full details of their disability to an employer or educational institution.
It is a deeply personal decision which may make some people feel extremely vulnerable, however, disclosure has the potential to allow many people with a disability access to a range of supports which are available.
As part of their health care team, there are some simple ways you can guide your patient in their decision whether to disclose the details of their disability or not.
All Australian educational institutions are required to adhere to the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) Education Standards which addresses both the rights of students with disability to access education and the obligations faced by educational organisations to facilitate this.
The standards are designed to ensure students with disability enjoy the same level of access to education as those who do not.
Australian Universities and TAFEs have Disability Support Units which offer practical advice and assistance including learning resources, liaising with teaching staff, access to technology and connecting students with note takers.
Disclosure: It’s A Personal Decision is a website which provides substantial information about options and pathways. It looks at disclosure on enrolling, prior to enrolling, commencing study, and any time during study. It also discusses if you decide not to disclose.
For more information contact your local National Disability Coordination Officers (NDCO). Southern Queensland – Debbie, firstname.lastname@example.org or 5458 3063; Central Queensland – Julie, Julie.email@example.com or 4932 8010.
ABOUT NDCO: The NDCO program is an initiative of the Australian Government to assist working-age adults (15-64) with disability to successfully transition into further education and subsequent employment by developing partnerships with stakeholders in the local community
This article was contributed by Debbie Rooskov from the National Disability Coordination Officer Program. NDCO – Building partnerships to help people with disability transition into further education and employment.